Chapter 22, "It's the End of My Brain as We Know It"
My feet dragged me in a forward direction as I wandered. The park, I thought knowingly. I know where that is. Between all of that walking and fresh air, I began to sober up. Signs were readable now, and the road was not so freaking curvy.
I wondered to myself in my head with my thoughts, what it would be like to have my brain eaten by microscopic beings with a silly name. Would it hurt? Would I notice at all? Whatever it felt like, it couldn't hurt worse than this damn headache. Seriously. I made a solemn vow to never drink ever again.
I followed sign after sign, until finally, I gazed upon one that read "The Park: Here" and danced happily because I'd found my destination.
I glanced around the gigantic field of green, cursing the fact that it was outside and therefore completely ensconced in weather. I thumbed my nose at life in general, number one for shining sunnily upon me, and number two for sucking so bad right now. My eyes wandered the field, searching for Lou. But I couldn't find him.
A loud buzzing noise happened. "FRIG. YOU ARRIVED SAFELY WE SEE." Hovering in front of me was what appeared to be a wispy blue cloud.
Tallybonkers. They spoke with the collective voice of billions of microscopic organisms, the end result sounding kind of like if a bunch of mosquitoes were all flapping their wings and somehow creating understandable words with it. What I'm saying is, it was creepy.
"Um...yes. Where is Lou?"
The tallybonkers chuckled somehow, while also buzzing. "SILLY HUMAN GIRL. WE NEVER HAD LOU. WE HAD NAUGHT BUT HIS WEAK PARROT."
I gasped. Larry the parrot. Of course. I'd wondered why Lou had been squawking so much. The damn bird flew into view, blissfully ignorant of the throng of mind-sucking beasts in front of us. "Frig, ye scallywag, squawk! Run with the goop, run with the goop!"
I hated that parrot so much right now. Thoughts clanked around in my brain, transforming themselves into little mechanoids of coherent thought. "So that's it then, you just brought me out here to eat my brain, and Lou was never in danger."
I had no idea wispy blue clouds could shake their heads smugly, but this is what the tallybonkers did. "WE HAD OUR WAY WITH LOU YEARS AGO. HIS BRAIN MADE FOR SOME DELECTABLE EATING, BUT IT IS YOU WE WANT NOW."
Probably it was a stupid idea to attempt to engage in conversation with your would-be brain suckers, but there was a question burning my insides that I simply could not hold in any longer.
Creepy mosquito wing laughter. "GENTLE FRIG. HAVE YOU NOT FIGURED IT OUT YET?"
I shook my head. "No, that's why I was asking."
"YOU ARE THE ONLY HUMAN EVER TO KNOW THE SECRETS OF THE ZMEEPHISH-QUIANS. WITH YOUR BRAIN, THEY WILL NO LONGER BE ABLE TO HIDE FROM US. THEY CAN NO LONGER EVADE. AND WE WILL HAVE A MIGHTY FEAST."
They just seemed so enthused about the whole mind-sucking, planet-conquering thing that I didn't have the heart to tell the tallybonkers how wrong they were. That really, short of an obsessive passion for a slimy roll in the hay every so often, I didn't know all that much about the Zmeephish-Q aliens (other than the whole crapping rainbows thing). But I had the feeling I probably couldn't convince them of my lack of alien knowledge. So instead I tried negotiating.
"Couldn't you just, like, interrogate me or something? There's no need to go through all of this brain-eating business."
"ALSO WE THINK BRAINS ARE DELICIOUS."
I guess that was the end of that, then. Here I was, about to get my brain eaten for no good reason. Lou was probably at home, playing bocci ball with Hector, not even wondering if I'm okay because he'd most likely already forgotten I left. If I weren't here trying to sacrifice my life for his, I'd consider killing him.
"SO NOW, FRIG, IF YOU COULD JUST...MOVE TO THE RIGHT A FEW INCHES...OKAY...NO, NOT THERE, THERE...THAT'S GOOD. NOW HOLD STILL."
I held still. If nothing else, maybe the brain zapping would ease the throbbing in my skull. I took a breath, realizing with aching clarity that it may be the very last breath I ever took with full, coherent knowledge of my actions.
The cloud of tallybonkers swirled together, becoming more dense. It looked like a ball of concentrated smoke, if smoke was able to not dissipate into the air, and also if it was blue. With a terrible whirring noise, the ball approached me. Approached my head. My brain. In moments it had surrounded me, clogging my nose, my ears, threatening to cut off my breathing entirely...
The sound reverberated off my brain, in no way helping the dull ache. Accompanying it, a gigantic explosion went off inches in front of my face. I heard what sounded like a frillion mosquito wings screaming in agony.
Smoke (real smoke this time) wafted like a wafting thing, blocking my view of anything else. After a few moments, it began to clear. I could make out a figure, holding what looked like very, very, very large gun.
"Xlormp?" I cried, holding my hand to my forehead in a futile attempt to see better.
"Not quite," the figure asserted, stepping into full view.
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